Berbizier takes charge of Azzurri
Pierre Berbizier took over as Italy coach on this day in 2005
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Pierre Berbizier was confirmed as the new head coach of the Italian national team. The former France international replaced New Zealander John Kirwan, who left his position after Italy lost every game in the Six Nations. Berbizier would go on to coach the Azzurri to their first away win in the Six Nations against Scotland in 2007 but left his coach after a disappointing showing in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
France lost 6-3 at Twickenham, narrowly failing to win a share of the first post-war Five Nations Championship. Winger Dickie Guest and flanker Vic Roberts were the villains in white, with England sharing the title with Wales after both sides recorded six tournament points.
Field Marshal Montgomery was present at Stade Colombes to see a rejuvenated French side that included an all-Lourdes threequarter line defeat Ireland 11-6 in the final match of the season's Five Nations. Ireland finished with the Wooden Spoon with only a 12-6 win over Scotland to show for their tournament while France finished third behind England and Wales.
The Barbarians, making their first peacetime tour to South Wales for seven years and fielding two soon-to-be All Blacks in Bill Meates and Eric Boggs, opened their visit with a 27-6 win against Penarth.
The Irish Rugby Union's Centenary season celebrations were sealed in a pulsating four-countries match in Dublin. The Ireland/Scotland team beat their England/Wales opponents 17-10 thanks to tries by Tom Grace and Dick Milliken and three
penalties from the boot of Andy Irvine.
The International Rugby Board cancelled the Singapore Sevens due to the SARS virus. IRB sevens manager Mark Egan said that a number of teams due to compete in the tournament, due to be played at the end of May, were unwilling to play.
New England cap Bill Beaumont worked hard in the heart of a Fylde pack that made Leicester struggle for their 21-19 win in an end-of-the-season clash at Woodlands.
Michael Lynagh kicked all of Saracens' points in their 12-10 victory against Newcastle. The Falcons, who went on to win the Premiership, lost for only the second time in 17 matches.
Plymouth Albion player Russell Thompson was hit with a two-year suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. A urine sample provided by 25-year-old Thompson following Plymouth's National League Two game at Rosslyn Park was found to contain the banned substance 19-norandrostenedione.